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Police identify person responsible for writing homophobic slur in dirt on a car parked on campus

The act was not targeted, and the individual responsible will be held accountable.

A homophobic slur was found written in the dirt on a car parked on campus Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. As soon as it was discovered, the car owner reported the incident to university police. Officers used security footage to identify and apprehend the individual responsible. The investigation revealed that the act was not targeted and there is no reason to believe there is an ongoing threat to the campus community.

Because the act did not violate any criminal laws, the individual was referred to the university for breaking the institution’s anti-discrimination policies. University officials have reached out to the victim to provide support and resources, and the Office of the Dean of Students will hold the responsible individual accountable for their actions.

The university’s student disciplinary process is outlined below.

About the student code and violations of policy:

University students are expected to abide by all university policies, including the Student Code, which prohibits dishonesty, disruption, assault, theft, unauthorized use of resources or equipment, unauthorized entry into university premises, possession of controlled substances or alcohol and more. Students suspected of violating the policy are expected to cooperate in the investigation and resolution of the issue.

The process is designed to ensure that those harmed by a violation of policy are supported and that outcomes ensure the safety and protection of others on campus. It is also the university’s intention that students who violate the code learn from their mistakes, and the process is designed to be part of the student’s educational experience.

If the office determines that the student code was violated, appropriate resolutions/sanctions are set. These are intended to provide an appropriate response to the student misconduct, as well as a learning opportunity. Additionally, those most directly victimized have an opportunity to be consulted as part of this process. Sanctions are determined on a case-by-case basis and range from a written reprimand to fines to dismissal.

Student information is protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), so specific details in specific cases are not shared.


Students, faculty, staff and visitors who believe they have witnessed or been the target of bias, intolerance or discrimination may report an incident to the Office for Inclusive Excellence (bias and intolerance) or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (sexual misconduct and discrimination).

Below are some additional resources available to the campus community:

The U is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion

The University of Utah strongly condemns bias, discrimination, racism, bigotry and hate in the strongest possible terms and is no place for violence. We support fostering an inclusive campus and are committed to diversity. U administrators want to assure students, faculty and staff that they are dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming and equitable campus where we work together to engage, support and advance a living, learning and working environment that fosters values of respect, diversity, inclusivity and academic excellence.

President Ruth V. Watkins addressed this in a previous message to campus. Additional information about these types of critical conversations, including a discussion about intent vs. impactsurviving and thrivingclaiming space and more, is available online.